Coaching ‘em up, part one

I gotta tell you, this is getting to be mighty thin gruel at this point.

“We had two guys in position, but we’ve just got to finish on the ball,” Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “It’s a situation our guys go over all the time. They were in maximum protection, and we were in a five-under, three-deep kind of deal. It’s fourth-and-18, and we needed to knock the ball down and get off the field.

“We’ll move on and learn from it. I’m proud of the way we fought.”

And when I say “at this point”, I mean at the point when we’re looking at one of the shittiest Georgia defenses of the past two decades.

… So much for Georgia’s defense climbing back into respectable statistical air. After reaching fifth in the SEC in yards allowed, the Bulldogs plummeted to ninth, and are 53rd nationally. They’ve yielded 386.9 yards per game, which if the season ended now would be the worst for Georgia since 1994. (Last year’s season average of 357.8 was the third-worst, surpassed only by 1999.) Yes, the game has changed over the past few years. But bad stats are still bad stats.

7. Georgia has now allowed 30.2 points per game. That’s on pace for the worst in program history, far surpassing the 25.9 points per game in 2009, the final year of Willie Martinez’s tenure.

8. And the worst stat of all: Georgia now ranks 121st nationally – ahead of only Air Force and Eastern Michigan – in turnovers forced. The Bulldogs have forced nine turnovers in 10 games.

The stats don’t lie.  Neither do my eyes.  This defense missed as many tackles yesterday as it did in the season opener.  It still can’t consistently defend the edge against the run.  There is no shutdown corner in the secondary.

It’s not that Grantham doesn’t know his stuff.  I’ve seen too many quotes from him to think he’s an idiot.  And it’s not even that the defensive play is uniformly bad.  It’s frustratingly inconsistent.  All of which indicates to me that all this “move on and learn from it” talk is just that – talk.  For whatever reason, Grantham can’t get his kids to absorb and take to heart what he’s teaching them.  And that’s a big part of how you wind up with the kind of season Georgia’s defense is suffering through.

You guys know me; I’m not the kind of person to call for somebody’s head.  (Nobody’s listening to me, anyway.)  But as I’ve joked before, what do you call a Georgia head coach with a defensive coordinator who’s not getting it done?  An ex-coach.  And Mark Richt’s always been up on his Georgia history.  I don’t see how this can continue as it has for much longer.

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121 Comments

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121 responses to “Coaching ‘em up, part one

  1. HVL Dawg

    How about Swan picking up (what we all at the time thought was) a fumble 3 yards deep in a crowded end zone and deciding to run it out?

    Coaching.

    • The other Doug

      Honestly, I don’t know if that is coaching. Shouldn’t he just know? You and I have never been in the arena, but we know that was wrong.

  2. JRW7

    Terrible coaching, just knock it down, CTG’s defense is terrible!

  3. JustSayin'

    God, family and then UGA football. Until that heirarchy flips…

  4. LorenzoDawg

    Giving up 550 yards pretty much says what should be obvious. CTG is a NFL position coach who is out of his element here. Kentucky & Tech will be more of the we have to outscore them affairs and both could beat us. I don’t care about possible losing some recruits, what have stellar recruits done for us under Grantham? Bud Foster does more with less, CTG does less with more.

  5. SouthGaDawg

    Grantham’s legacy as a collegiate D coordinator – One year we can’t defend the bubble screen, the next year we can’t defend the zone read (remember OBC joking about that game?), the next year we can’t defend the wheel route, last night, we can’t defend the jet sweep – seriously? All along the way, we our fundamentals are flawed – tackling, lining-up, substituting, technique, blown time outs. Did I miss anything?

    • Bright Idea

      When Grantham loaded the box in the 4th quarter Auburn paniced and tried to pass. WTF took him so long?

  6. sniffer

    Mark Richt is a stubborn (hardnosed?) coach. His philosophy is “We’re Georgia, beat us if you can”.

    His stubborness got us back in the game last night, so I don’t know if its a liability or asset.

    I don’t think he runs Grantham off and I don’t think McGarrity tells him to.

  7. SC DAWG

    He’s got to go, period. His system is way too complicated and let’s face it, these boys aren’t rocket scientists. The inconsistency is due to the complexity and Grantham continues, mysteriously to believe the boys will be able to grasp it.

    • ETennDawg

      Another point to simplicity is Mahlzan’s offense. 1 play with 4 different options. They arent complicated reads to make. Marshall is not the brightest QB in the league and he can make the offense go. Got to keep it simple and let athleticism take over.

    • Bright Idea

      Grantham is clueless against a spread with the threat of a running QB. He abandons the LOS and there just aren’t enough bodies to defend that offensive approach. He is just out of his element and has not learned in 4 years. I can see him staying and Lakatos being fired if Richt is handcuffed by the salary/contract commitment to Grantham.

  8. Rebar

    I understand the angst, but I don’t think you can blame the system. Our players were in place alot of the times to make tackles, and didn’t make them. They were in the right place, but this team can’t explode through a tackle, they seem to just try to grab and hang on, except Ramik.

    • He has been DC for 51 games, We’ve had the same issues since game 1. Enough already. Idk if its the system, practice routine, fundamentals, etc. But whatever it is its on Grantham, and its not going to change as he fails to even acknowledge a problem.

      • Carolinadawg

        Mark Richt has been the HEAD Coach for what, 160 games, and we still have the same issues. That’s the real problem.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Ramik? Wilson? Your belief that he “explodes through a tackle” makes me think you haven’t watched a game this year.

  9. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The real problem is the “me” mentality that the Georgia players seem to have. Two Georgia DBs fighting each other for a game-ending INT to win the game and be the HERO instead of batting the ball down tip the ball to an out of position Auburn receiver to lose the game. I can read their minds: “I’ll be on ESPN and may get drafted higher by the NFL. Maybe I’ll get some tail too if I catch it!!” This “me” attitude has permeated the team for years. That’s why Swann tried to run out the fumble in the end zone instead of just falling on it. Remember a few years ago when our defenders always tried to pick up fumbles and run with the ball in a crowd rather than just fall on it? They invariably would bat the ball around until a player from the other team DID fall on it. There is no “i” in “team” but there sure is in Georg”i”a.

    • Ginny

      I really don’t think that’s the case. They were just trying to make a play that they’ve been taught their whole lives. Game is on the line and you think they’re worried about ESPN highlights? Give them more credit than that.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      C’mon, Mayor. No, you can’t read their minds. Football is a team sport, but the sport correctly encourages great individual effort, and if the individuals can only see the results of their personal drive submerged in some faceless team identity, they’re not going to work as hard.

      If we truly didn’t see this as a game of individuals working together under a single banner, why do we even know their names? Why have numbers or the names on their jerseys? Why celebrate individual players’ performances at all? Why do we hold players like Blake Sailors, who seems to outperform his natural ability, in high esteem, but we criticize players with great ability who seem to mail it in?

      I can’t read their minds, either, but I think those two kids were trying to make a great individual play in service to their team. Players cannot contribute collectively, they can only contribute individually, and if you beat the incentives and rewards out of individual effort then we really will have a mediocre team.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Say what you will all of you, including you CD (who should know better). In your heart you know what I said above is the truth. 2 UGA DBs fighting each other to intercept a pass that never needed to be picked off cost us that game. The right way to play it was for NEITHER to go after the ball but just get between the receiver and the ball and screen the receiver from it, letting the ball hit the ground. Some on this blog have blamed JHC alone because he tipped the pass. Both were going for the INT. Both are guilty IMHO.

      • stick jackson

        But they didn’t NEED to make a “great individual play.” They needed to make a simple, solid play. Trying to make (what would look like) a great play was the whole problem.

      • 69Dawg

        I’d like to call total BS on this. The sum of the team is or should be greater than it’s parts but it can only be if the individuals work as a team. While there maybe the occasional great individual action it must be seen as a part of the team. This individual crap is for the baseball field not for football. By the way most teams that value the team concept don’t have the players names on the jersey. The name thing came about because of recruiting and wanting to appeal to the stars of high school. Heck the only reason the numberes are on there is for the officials and TV.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Mayor, Stick, and 69 – I just watched the play again and stand corrected, both of those young fools were battling for the catch and I think the best explanation (though not the only one) was they were hoping to make the big game-winning interception.

        I didn’t think the Auburn WR was as close to them as I now see on the replays (if he’s a few yards away it makes trying to catch it and bring it safely to the ground more understandable). But the AU WR was right there, and agree the only thing you do in that situation is knock it away.

        I do stand by many of my points about individual effort, but I didn’t want to come off as believing one should put himself ahead of the team, I don’t think that. Only that individuals have to be motivated by their own contribution.

    • TKB

      Totally agree that the “me” mentality is a HUGE reason for our failure. and not nipping that in the bud starts with the head coach. BUT that last play vs auburn wasn’t an example of that I don’t think. I thought it was at first, but after watching it a few times, Harvey- Clemons didn’t see Matthews because he was going for the ball…

  10. Krautdawg

    Sounds like Richt is NOT happy with the D staff. Remember what Murray said about the miracle TD? “It was a freak play.” Here was Richt’s take:

    “It wasn’t a fluke play. They launched it out there and were hoping for a miracle. When you’re playing that type of prevent defense, the goal is to not let anybody behind you. The goal is to knock the ball down and end the game. It just didn’t happen.”

    The way I read this, he’s saying that one side didn’t have its sh*t together for the most important play of the game.

  11. Scorpio Jones, III

    There is only one candidate to replace Mr. Grantham who will bring the managerial skills and leadership needed to craft a first rate defense in one spring and preseason. We have made a run at him before and it did not work out…it is time to try again.

    Bring Kirby Home.

    • Oy.

      He ain’t coming. First of all, because he won’t be asked again.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        This you know, or this you suspect? I am reasonably sure all the Saban conversation about lateral moves was smoke.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Is Grantham on a multi-year deal….don’t remember….does he have a big buyout?

          • He signed a 3 year, $2,475 mil deal just before the 2012 season. So he is under contract until the end of the 2014 season. I don’t recall him getting an extension after last season, but I could be wrong..anyone know?

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Ok, I am backing off the Kirby Smart bandwagon, I get there are “philosophical differences” between Kirby and the head coach, but we have a real chance to have a very damn good football team next year. And despite the obvious talent on defense, they can’t get out of their own way sometimes (he types as he bursts into tears.) I have taken some pride in the idea that I don’t know enough to call coaches out. I have been wrong.

              I feel Mark Richt is waiting for his Mickey Andrews…he needs to keep looking for him.

            • By my calculation, UGA would owe Grantham $825,000 if they fired him at the end of the season.

        • I’ve been told a few things by people whom I respect. KS burned some bridges at BM and with Richt. If there’s a change at DC, I would be very surprised if they went back to the same well again.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            Yeah, now I remember a conversation I had with someone when that was going on, and you are probably right.

            I wish I had a better understanding of exactly why Grantham is not working out, but I lack the X and O knowledge, although I have my suspicions.

            If the defense had improved this year I would not be thinking the way I am.

            • Will (the other one)

              The fact that the D isn’t improving really this year PLUS the regression with all the talent that came back last year should be the end of the Grantham experiment.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            I agree, Senator. Forget KS.

      • Agreed. He suckered us last time and got a big raise out of it. Besides, his next stop will be as a HC.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Mark Richt is not going to be head coach for ever. Nuff said.

          • the timing won’t be right. Richt has at least another 5 years and Kirby will be a HC sooner than that. If i had to guess Richt’s replacement down the road, I would put my money on Bobo.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              That’s logical, of course, Scott. Hey I am in uncharted waters here, I hate people who regularly do exactly what I am doing now…but I am also getting old. Lots of us are. I deserve a better defense. We all do…the kids, the fans….all of us.

              And you know what? I don’t care who gives us that…if it is Todd Grantham, then fine. But I want a better defense.

      • IAmAGurleyMan

        What about Will Muschamp?

      • Bright Idea

        Smart waiting on Bama head job. Why would he come here to be DC unless he were named HCIW which seldom works. There are other answers. Old guy with a beard at North Texas would be mine.

    • Sparrow

      I know this will never happen, but I want Muschamp for DC. He isn’t going to be canned this year, but i also have my doubts about Grantham being fired this year also. The timing could be perfect…

  12. Spike

    I’m all Dawg, but our tackling is the worst I’ve ever seen, bar none. We were not ready to play on D until the middle of the third quarter. And I still say Swann sucks.

  13. D.N. Nation

    It’s telling that one of the key stops we made in the 4th quarter was actually when two Barners ran into each other. Good…..job?

    The results speak for themselves. Grantham isn’t getting it done.

  14. Connor

    It’ll be some interesting calculus for Richt after this season. Stay with Grantham and bet he can turn things around,knowing if he doesn’t they may both be out? Start over, knowing that while it might placate the fanbase in the short-term, it could also ruing a potentially promising 2014 season?
    I think Richt goes all in with Grantham… but he’ll have some explaining to do to his old pall Willy when he see’s him again.

    • We can’t get any worse on defense, so I don’t see any risk whatsoever in making a change at DC. The 2014 has no promise if Grantham is still DC. Get that out of your head.

      • Connor

        I agree with you, but I’m not Mark Richt. And we all thought we couldn’t get any worse on defense when we fired Willie, yet here we are.

  15. STEVE DYER

    Yes,Grantham is not getting it done…but Mark Richt is not as well.
    Richt should be gone at the end of the season…..don’t think mcdumbass
    has the balls to do it. One year ga plays good next year bad…..that is
    coaching and it starts at the top with Richt.Special teams close my eyes
    I don’t want to see nomore. we have no tackles on OL, we are using guards
    to play tackle…..how’s that working? I’M TIRED OF THE PROGRAM BEING
    RUN LIKE A SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS INSTEAD OF A FOOTBALL PROGRAM……..RICHT HAS HAD HIS TIME,ITS NOW TIME FOR A
    NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH.

  16. Will Trane

    Tell me why this offense can score 21 points in a 4th quarter and get 20 yards in another and no score? Tell me why a defense can start making some plays in the 4th and could not stop junior high offense. Most inconsistent team in UGA history and the SEC. .

    • AU tooks its foot off the gas. They had a 3 td lead in the 4th quarter and were just trying to eat clock. Same thing has happened to our offense with big leads. Don’t read to much into our defensive prowess in the 4th.

  17. Since the start of the 2010 season, the KENTUCKY WILDCATS have given up 30 points or more a whopping 20 times.

    That’s the exact same number of times UGA has given up 30 points since the start of 2010 (20 times now in the Grantham era).

    Its remarkable really the success we’ve had despite playing defense like Kentucky,.

  18. Will Trane

    Stat wise this is a very bad defense, and last year was almost as bad. Last year they had wins and a record. Not this year. What would help this defense in more hardnose running in game and in practice. Teams that run well generally have a D which tackles well and pursue the ball well.

  19. Will Trane

    Marshall is not Johnny football. His passing yesterday is what it is. Drop back and let it go down the field. AU rolled the dice on a deep ball, got lucky with a tip…guarantee you everybody at the game, watching CBS, or listening to a broadcast thought they would throw just enough for a 1st down and play for a FG.

  20. Will Trane

    D coaches and players fooled on that play. Should not have worked but it did. Did they learn anything from it. Why, hell no. We are 10 games into this season, the play and the numbers are the same. Just like last year. last year some of those guys did just enough for an agent. This year is youth and inexperience.

  21. Will Trane

    If a USC team with less than 50 scholarship players can beat a #4 Stanford team, what is wrong with CMR and team. One thing they are not physical enough and they do not practice that way. When this team starts pounding the ball for about 275 per game on the ground or better, you will see a better D.

  22. Will Trane

    We can not keep RBs and WR healthy. Why. Look at the number of plays they are in for a season. We do not have a running game. Look at the stats, as bad as the D. We do not have an O line and a running game where at some point in the 2nd half we make their asses quit on the other side.

  23. Will Trane

    The O line coach and the D line coach need to get some AA talent in the fold in numbers. Especially if you want to stop a spread offense, If you do not stop the IZR you will not stop the other ancillary plays. Not all on LB and secondary. Stop the IZR blocking and gaps and you stop their scoring. Get a damn running game CMR

  24. Stanford runs a 3-4….Derek Mason as new DC? That would be a coup.

  25. Raven

    Please don’t dominate the rap Jack
    if you got nothing new to say
    If you please don’t back up the track
    This train got to run today

    Spent a little time on the mountain
    Spent a little time on the hill
    Heard some say better run away
    Others say you better stand still

  26. MinnesotaDawg

    “We’ll learn from it…” Right.

    Every GD year we seem to lose one or two games caused by our own football stupidity or fundamental mistake(s) that even little league players grasp. Just when I think we can’t kill ourselves in any new, ridiculous, heart-breaking way—we break down in some new catastrophic, game-changing way. Bad luck? Snakebit? Yeah, it seems so–but don’t discount our lack of team football intelligence, our failure to make solid, smart decisions as a team and coaching staff. These deficiencies seems like a constant and are one of the biggest reasons we don’t win championships. Whatever we’re doing to teach players about the proper way to understand and play the game…it doesn’t seem to be working.

    Forget talent alone…until Georgia starts fielding smart football teams again, expect more heartbreak–just don’t ask me how they’ll do it next time.

  27. STEVE DYER

    Normaltown Mike……Im sure you are in saint Richt’s sunday school class.
    We need a football coach not a sunday school teacher. No matter how
    bad his teams are you do gooders will always find a way to make him look like he is doing his job……….He is not a good coach……Im sure he’s
    a good sunday school teacher as you suck up to him every sunday.

  28. 69Dawg

    OK I’ll commit the PC error and just say maybe it’s happening over and over because our player’s are too damn dumb to learn. It’s that or they just don’t give a damn what the coaches say. I’m beginning to think that the people that have said CMR has an undisciplined team are right. First let me explain that to me there is a difference in being undisciplined off the field ie. the grass and DUI’s and being undisciplined on the field. CMR does a good job with the off the field part but obviously not with the on the field part.These 4 and 5 star guys are entitled since Middle School because they are good athletes. They get recruited with the promise of playing time. What they are not for the most part are team players and this causes problems. The 4 and 5 stars are for the most part in college in order to get a shot at the pros. This causes them to be free lancers and hope to make the BIG play. Well that’s all well and good as long as your responsibility is the area that the BIG play is happening but if you free lance out of you area and your responsibility you have just cost the team. 28 and 25 were not thinking of what’s best for the team they were thinking how it would look great on Sports Center to be the player that intercepted the ball to win the game. Surely Harvey-Clemons knew that 28 was in position to make the play surely having been a highly recruited football player he had been told over and over not just by his college coaches but his high school and middle school coaches what to do on 4th down on a pass, but no he actually tipped the ball out of between his teammates out stretched hands. 28 could have been going to knock it down but he never got a chance because H-C wanted his damn glory. Now what does that have to do with team discipline you may say. It would be next fall before H-C saw the field again. Too heavy handed you say, well if that happened just once or twice it would never happen again with the same group of players. There has to be some ramifications to ones actions or the lesson is just theory not practical. Screw up bad enough and you sit. Hey if your an Alabama player and screw up bad enough they will pull your scholarship and send your butt to the minors. Georgia will never win another SECC with CMR at the helm, it’s just not in him any more. He is a fine man and a good coach but we alumni should just get used to it and let the sidewalk alumni go to Bama.

    • PlatoDawg

      Bunch of gibberish.

    • Raven

      You’re a fool.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Sorry PlatoDawg and Raven but your words belie that you have never worn a jockstrap before. 69 is not a fool (he is a respected regular poster on this blog) and what he said above is not gibberish. I suspect that there are things going on within the coaching staff right now concerning 25 and 28 that we on the outside are not privy to. Also, how much do you want to bet that some rather large, strong person from the team itself who is a leader–and maybe more than one– (I would suspect Ramik or Drew) hasn’t already backed those two up against a wall and read them the riot act about what they did. The players know what they did and the other members of the team do, too….even if you don’t.

  29. PlatoDawg

    Todd Grantham sucks…where the hell have you guys been for the last 4 years?The man chokes everytime he faces a good OC…every single damn time..nothing has changed or will change as long as he is at UGA.Quiz…name a good offense the Dawgs have shut down with Grantham at DC…..4 YEARS AND RUNNING AND YOU GUYS ARE THINKING REAL HARD RIGHT NOW HUH?

  30. Snake Plisskin

    Like to know what the players think of CTG…do they quit on him, or not even get started…the all everything all stars from last years team sure didn’t seem to care for him…it took Shawn Williams to stand up and motivate the team, not CTG…I may have missed it, but has any player come to CTG’s defense, maybe that’s just as hard for them to do as it is to operate his complex schemes…Snake out

  31. W Cobb Dawg

    I believe Grantham’s exit at the end of the season is a foregone conclusion. I have no idea who his replacement will be. But as time goes on I’ve become skeptical of saban disciples as DC’s. I don’t believe Smart or Muschamp are real possibilities as DC’s for us anyway, as I don’t believe either of them would accept our DC job.

    • TXBaller

      Obviously haven’t heard of Jeremy Pruitt??

    • Bulldog Joe

      A new defensive coordinator would be just rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. It doesn’t solve the root problem.

      We are good at coaching and recruiting QB’s, receivers, TE’s, and backs. We’re average at coaching kickers and DL’s, and weak everywhere else, especially in managing the roster and providing effective discipline techniques.

      Giving players the day off as “punishment” while on scholarship harms the team and robs the individual of the opportunity to immediately atone for his behavior in a way that helps himself and his team.

      Then we double down on harming the team by not recruiting enough talented players to step in. We maintain a naive assumption that everyone is going to have success just because they were recruited here.

      It is easy to see how we lose as many games off the field as on it.

      The root cause is not a DC problem. It is a head coach problem.

      Our AD has given the current staff four years to solve these problems.

      The problems still exist.

      It’s time to make our move.

  32. JRW7

    69 Dawg, you are absolutely correct, CMR does not have the drive nor determination to win a MNC anymore! I can remember the 2002 thru 2007 seasons when I thought CMR was just the best college coach in college football, but he has lost it, and he and CTG need to go! It’s time!

  33. STEVE DYER

    CarolinaDawg
    You sir are correct, they always have a reason why Richt is not doing
    his job as a head coach and it will be different next year.
    You and I know as long as he is the head coach as AREOSMITH put it……
    SAME OLD SONG AND DANCE MY FRIEND.
    It’s time for a change.

  34. STEVE DYER

    69Dawg
    You said it brother……time for CMR and all of his cronies to go……
    It’s time for Mc Dumbass to do his job and CLEAN HOUSE.

  35. Atticus

    I am sorry but Grantham hasn’t worked, BUT……but the issue is far larger. This program is being managed by a coach, when interviewed after poor performances (when winning against bad competition like TN and North Texas) consistently says “all that matters is a win”. Wrong coach. Wrong. Nothing mentioned about “this is not the way Georgia plays, this is unacceptable…we are going to correct these mistakes and play the way we expect and if necessary put guys in there that will perform….”. What matters is performing at the highest levels of execution, playing to your ability, not to the level of the other team, just enough to win. This program is a mess because it has a coach who doesn’t demand and expect excellence and fails to hold his players and coaches accountable. You play in games the way you practice and you perform the way that is expected and awarded (or not). He also has done nothing to address the special teams in years. And finally, he doesn’t know how to hire the right coordinators. Sorry, Bobo is good, put up a lot of points, especially when he has a very good QB and skill positions (he is a very good recruiter there) but his failure to manage the entire offensive roster and especially the lack of numbers and focus on the OL (instead we have a soph tackle that got beat several times so we had to play an undersized guy that hadn’t played in 3 years….and where are the NFL OLs?). This team still lays eggs at critical junctures (like the first half in Aub against a bad defense). And lets face it, if he was THAT good a team would’ve offered him a job years ago. Great coordinators get hired, good ones stay in their current jobs. But at the end of the day, two failures at DC have really hurt the program. Both were overmatched. I hope next year magically turns everything around with a loaded roster (outside of OL) but I don’t see it given the last several years. These hungry new coaches have made the conference that much tougher. And just think about this, Florida and TN are at their worst in 30 years! If not for that, we could be in an even worse state. It’s time to expect more.